School dist. talking about turnaround

Program offers
Virginia training

The Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 school board will discuss a University of Virginia school turnaround program tonight at its regular meeting.

Since its inception in 2003, the UVA program has helped turn around failing schools in 16 states, including a number of Utah’s persistently low-achieving public schools. After implementing the program, Utah education officials said schools have achieved 20, 30 and 40 percent gains in areas such as reading, language arts and mathematics.

“We are really trying to keep our attention focused on our primary purpose, which is creating an educational program that supports all of our students to achieve success,” said Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 School Superintendent Alex Carter.

The program pairs UVA business and education experts with school systems to institute new practices and increase student success. The approach requires work with educators at every level – from state and district administrators to school principals and teachers.

Interim executive director William Robinson claims the program is “the nation’s only turnaround program that focuses on establishing systemwide changes and building transformative leadership.”

Before launching the program, local educators would likely attend a two-week residency at UVA, where faculty would lead workshops on strategic planning, using data to improve student outcomes and diagnosing and addressing the root causes of school challenges.

Officials from the University of Virginia School Turnaround Specialist Program were in Cortez last month to conduct a site evaluation to determine if the school district was ready to enroll in the program.

In related news, Montezuma-Cortez High School principal Jason Wayman will also present a proposal to the school board for a new student-support program to help address student failure at M-CHS.

The school board’s 7 p.m. meeting tonight is held at the old Downey school building on N. Elm Street. A 6 p.m. work session preludes the regular meeting.

tbaker@cortezjournal.com